5 Things to Do Before Calling for HVAC Service

Whether its broken thermostats, malfunctioning units, or low airflow, no homeowner wants to encounter HVAC system problems. Before calling for service on your HVAC system, it can be useful to do a little bit of troubleshooting. After all, you may find that the problem is minor, or a quick fix, and doesn’t warrant a service call, which can potentially save you time and money. On the other hand, some problems are best left to the professionals. If you inspect the problem and find that it’s too severe for you to fix, you’ll still have a better idea of how to describe it to the technician. Either way, here are five things that we recommend doing before calling for HVAC service.

1.      Check for power

The first step in investigating your HVAC problem involves making sure it’s being powered in the first place. Check your home’s circuit box for a tripped breaker. It’s possible that a loss of electricity could have occurred, particularly if there was a recent storm or power outage in the area. Oftentimes, your air conditioning and heating can stop working for no reason other than a tripped breaker, and the only action necessary is resetting the power. If your air starts working again, then no HVAC service call is needed.

However, if your system often causes the circuit to break, this could be indicative of a more serious problem. If you experience more than one circuit breaker issue per month, we recommend that you call to have your system inspected, and have the wiring of your home evaluated by an electrician.

2.      Replace thermostat batteries

If you have a programmable thermostat and the screen appears blank, with no options for your input, the problem is likely a loss of power caused by batteries. Dead or dying thermostat batteries can create a situation where your air conditioning and heating may not function properly. This can lead to air that isn’t as warm or as cool as you’d like, or air that won’t even turn on and circulate in the first place. Before calling for service, replace the batteries with fresh ones and see if that fixes the problem. If it doesn’t, then it may be necessary to call for service.

3.      Clean or replace filters

If you think your air conditioning or heating is broken, check your filters. A dirty or blocked air filter can cause your system to turn on and off repeatedly and keep your home from reaching a comfortable temperature. We recommended cleaning or replacing your filters every 60 days at a minimum. If people in your home suffer from severe allergies or asthma, or if you have pets, consider changing your filters more frequently to keep the air as clean as possible. At Chas Roberts, we make it easy by selling replaceable air filters directly.

Reusable filters should be cleaned regularly to prevent the buildup of dust, dirt, and other debris. To easily clean your filters, follow these steps:

  1. Remove the filter from the vent
  2. Take the filter outside to avoid getting dirt and debris in your home
  3. Brush any dirt and debris off the filter and into a trashcan
  4. Use a vacuum with an attachment to remove any remaining debris
  5. Wash the filter with running water
  6. Allow the filter to air dry, and then reinstall the filter

4.      Check the outdoor temperature

On sweltering summer days, your air conditioning system may struggle to keep up, but a repair or replacement may not be necessary to fix the problem. This is because, on average, an air conditioner can only cool the air inside a home by 20 degrees. So, if temperatures reach 100 degrees, your air conditioner may only be able to get the temperature in your home to around 80 degrees, no matter how low you set the thermostat.

To help your home reach a comfortable temperature without relying solely on your air conditioner, focus on what you as a homeowner can do by making lifestyle changes and behavior modifications. For example, using ceiling fans, keeping the windows closed, and turning off lights when you’re not using them can make a large impact on how warm your house feels.

Other tips for keeping your home cool without relying on air conditioning include:

  • Installing thermal curtains
  • Turning off large electronics
  • Limiting your use of the stove and oven
  • Keeping interior doors closed

If these methods don’t cool your home to your expectations, or you notice that your air conditioner isn’t blowing enough air to begin with, it may be necessary to call a professional. Additionally, if the air conditioner isn’t functioning at all, it’s best to call for emergency repairs.

5.      Inspect the outside unit

If your HVAC system isn’t working, it can be useful to go right to the source by inspecting the outside unit. Check for any obstacles or debris that may be preventing airflow. This could include plants, dirt, or dust. Particularly in the Phoenix desert, large amounts of dust is a common problem that leads to the loss of airflow. If you see anything that could be blocking the vents, clear it away and see if the problem with your HVAC system persist.

If there’s no noticeable debris covering the unit, there could be another possible problem. Every outdoor unit should include a disconnect box, containing breakers and fuses that control the power to the unit. This box serves as the central hub of the HVAC system, protecting vital mechanisms that enable the unit to function. If your air conditioning or heating won’t turn on, it’s possible these mechanisms may have been switched off, or wrongly configured. Open the disconnect box and inspect the inside, ensuring that all switches are turned on. If they aren’t, you can attempt to restore power by turning the switches back on. If this doesn’t fix the problem, a technician may need to inspect the disconnect box before any further action can be taken.

Still need assistance? Call Chas Roberts.

Sometimes, HVAC service really is necessary. If the tips in this article didn’t work to solve your problem, it’s time to call in the experts to help you figure everything out. With more than 75 years of experience, our certified technicians can fix any HVAC problem—from minor leaks to major replacements. With our 24/7 emergency services, we will be there whenever you need us. Contact us today to get started.